middle eastern chickpeas with spinach

chickpeasThis meal is comforting yet tangy and interesting – perfect for a cool spring evening in Madison.  It calls for a pinch of saffron in the beans, but we didn’t want to splurge on that, and it was still delicious.  It’s adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites, and it serves 4.  You could skip the yogurt to make it vegan, but you might want to try some soy-gurt or something, as long as it tastes tangy.

Sauce:
2/3 cp plain lowfat yogurt
1 garlic glove, minced
1 tsp chopped fresh mint
pinch of salt

Beans:
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tb olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cubed
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 cps cooked (or canned) chickpeas, with liquid reserved
10 oz spinach, rinsed, stemmed, and coarsely chopped (we found an 8-oz bag at the farmers’ market, and it worked out fine)
2 tb lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Base:
orzo or rice or couscous or…

1. Combine ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and let sit while you get everything else ready – the flavors need a bit of time to blend.
2. In a deep skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, and add the onions, cooking until soft, 6-8 minutes.
3. Add the bell pepper and spices, and saute for 2-3 minutes more, stirring frequently.
4. Stir in the chickpeas and 1/4 cup of their liquid and simmer for 5 minutes, until peppers are just tender, adding more liquid (or water or stock if you run out) if necessary.
5. Add the spinach and cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes, until spinach is bright and wilted.
6. Stir in the lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Serve over grains, topped with the yogurt sauce.chickpeas2

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